Now don’t get me wrong, as a vacation trip it was very nice. It was a very welcomed change of scenery and the weather was wonderful. Possibly the weather was a tad too nice for the trout. The Inn we stayed at was old and rustic, with a splendid view of the Smoky Mountains from the back porch, where the evenings were spent amongst good company whilst consuming an assortment of fine whisky. The food was plentiful and well prepared. I cannot really even complain about the fishing as I was introduced to a variety of ways to fly fish for trout. I even caught all three species: Brown, Rainbow, and Brook. I caught something else too that was suspected to be some sort of hybrid. Unfortunately no photo of it… I did not think to get out the camera for a fish that could lie on my palm.
So… what was the problem? There really wasn’t one I guess. It’s just me. I would bet t.z. would say it is my ethos! I have a fishing problem.
I spent days, no make that weeks, preparing my equipment, spooling reels, tying leaders, re-reading books I studied to get certified (99% of my 50+ uears of fly fishing has been in the salt), practicing slack line casts, looking at videos on-line, reading hatch charts, etc. Then we drove for over 12 hours in a cramped vehicle. To do what? Sit on a porch and drink booze? Wait until 8 AM for breakfast? Drive around looking for a parking spot on beautiful streams but finding them all occupied? Suit up in waders, slip over rocks, get snubbed by picky little fish and almost get run over by bathing suit clad partiers in floating rubber tubes? Go to a fine fly-fishing museum when it wasn’t even raining?
It was a fiendish form of torture! I think I might rather be water-boarded.
It got so bad that on one night I waited for the others to stumble back to their rooms, and then I secretly got out a fly rod. The local river is well stocked and only a short distance from the inn. So, what does the night watchman tell me? It is against the law to fish in town at night!
Arrrgh! I’m telling you it was torture!
And then, on the last day, it happened. We drove up into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fish for wild fish. There is no stocking in the national park. It was there where it all came together. Small stream, small rod, very tactical water, no tubers! The water was crystal clear but the shadowing trees made it look like ink. A 14” brown ate a fluffy Klinkhamer in an eddy that just begged for the fly. The pool required a left-handed roll cast to get it there. The little 4wt bent and throbbed as the fish shot downstream, somehow navigating the invisible chutes between the boulders. I wasn’t sure I could get it back against the current. The blessed event: like so many things that “just happen”. I was unprotected. A new addiction was conceived.
Then I knew I’ll be back, but up until that point I wasn’t so sure. Nothing against the Inn, but next time I’m bringing my backpack and hiking boots, and I’ll be hungry and tired while sipping evening whisky outside my tent, way up one of those wild creeks, far from the town and tubers.
That will be a fishing trip.